FTC Proposes Significant Revisions to Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule


On September 15, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Proposed Rule and Request for Comment (PRRC) that would amend and significantly expand the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA Rule), which implements the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).1 Companies that may be affected by the proposed amendments have until November 28, 2011, to submit comments to the FTC.

The current COPPA Rule applies to operators of websites and "online services" that collect information from children under 13 years of age. The rule is triggered where either the website/service is directed to children under the age of 13 or the operator has actual knowledge that the website/service is collecting "personal information" from such children. Among other things, the rule requires covered operators to provide detailed notice to parents about the information being collected and its uses, and to obtain parents' verifiable consent prior to collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under the age of 13.

The FTC did not plan to review the rule until 2017.2 However, in light of the "rapid-fire pace of technological change," including an explosion in children's use of mobile devices and the proliferation of online social networking and interactive gaming, the FTC initiated its review of the rule on an accelerated schedule.

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